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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pearl E. Whites

Do I really need an electric toothbrush??

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

The latest iO Series9 Oral B toothbrush as of 2022 is selling for $350...correct, that was not a typo!

It could be because the brush has a fancy title or because it glows when in use. If I spend that much money on a brush, surely I am guaranteed to not get cavities, right?

Complications of Brushing Poorly

You don't need to brush your teeth like you're mopping the floor. Brushing too aggressively with an old-fashioned toothbrush (clenching your teeth causes this too but we'll talk about this later) have irreversible complications. The first sign you are brushing too aggressively is recession. This is where the gums start to slough and this exposes the root structures of the teeth. Sensitivity ensues to cold things or touch, and this can become uncomfortable daily. We have solutions to combat this sensitivity, which remain conserevative in nature.

Wearing away of tooth structure

Recession converts into "abfractions." This is worse than recession because now the tooth starts to wear away at the gumline. If you can take your fingernail and feel a dip into the tooth at the gum line then read on. Abfractions turn colors and eventually decay. The lack of tooth structure makes teeth vulnerable to breaking off at the gumline and recession gets worse. Sensitivity is heightened. Fillings or crowns are suggested treatment options.

So Automatic Toothbrush? Yes or No?

An automatic toothbrush prevents these main complications if used properly. Most have a 2-minute setting and some yell at you if you press too aggressively. The best perk is your teeth feel cleaner than a regular brush because it seems to brush more effectively. All you need to do is angle the brush head in each tooth crevice and let the brush do all the work. You do NOT need to brush back and forth or in circles like a manual toothbrush. Read that last line twice.

For the majority of patients' teeth we clean we can assure you the majority of patients don't brush effectively and in general we would recommend an automatic toothbrush for most people.

Which Automatic Toothbrush Should I Buy?

You don't need the most expensive automatic brush. Think of a microwave with all the bells and whistles. No matter how many cool features it has, you still end up only pushing 2-3 #s and the "Start" button! Same with automatic toothbrushes--you really only need an "On/Off" button and MAYBE one setting to adjust speed. If an automatic toothbrush is also designed to make you coffee in the morning then just walk away!

Give it to me Straight, Doc--Summarize this for me

Research has shown that if you brush like you're supposed to with a regular, SOFT-bristled toothbrush that this is just as good as an electric toothbrush. That is using GENTLE circular strokes. HOWEVER, I'll be the first to admit even after all my professional training in dentistry that if I don't pay attention when brushing that I will naturally brush aggressively like I did in my younger years. Most patients are the same and brush ineffectively. Automatic toothbrushes take the thought process out of it and overall produce cleaner teeth when done. Automatic toothbrushes are especially recommended for the following groups:

  • Those wearing braces

  • Teenagers

  • Those who are physically weaker or elderly

  • Diabetic

  • Teenagers

  • Dry mouth

  • Those prone to cavities

  • Aggressive brushers naturally

  • Have I mentioned teenagers?

How Much Do You Sell Your Automatic Toothbrushes For Dr. Nelson?

I'm glad you asked--at cost! If it costs our office $90 to buy a toothbrush, we turn around and sell it to our patients for $90. Everything we sell in our office that prevents cavities is sold at cost. That way when we recommend an automatic toothbrush or other preventative product, it's because you truly need it and it's not to make a profit.

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